Here’s my quick and simple method for creating the perfect sourdough starter. You’ll start with 1 cup of flour and 1 cup of water but you will need to keep a supply of both in the house to ‘feed’ the starter and keep it alive.
Unbleached flour and bottled spring water are best as they provide the best environment for yeast to grow in but tap water is fine too.
- 1 cup white bread flour
- 1 cup cold water
- Catalyst, such as 1 tbsp organic apple, grated OR 2 organic grapes, halved
- In a jug, mix together your flour, water, and catalyst to form a paste.
- Pour into a non-airtight container such as a Kilner jar which has had the rubber seal removed. This both allows naturally occurring (airborne) yeast to get in, and gas to get out. No explosions!
- Leave overnight at room temperature.
- The following day, stir your starter well then mix 1/4 cup of starter with 1/2 cup of flour and 1/2 cup of water in a jug. Discard the rest of your starter and pour the contents of the jug into your clean storage jar.
- Repeat steps 3 and 4 for at least three days. You’ll know your starter is primed when it consistently rises and falls between feeds and you can see lots of bubbles throughout. It should be quite loose and have a sweet, slightly alcoholic smell to it.
If you only bake once a week, put the starter in the fridge and remove it the day before you want to use it. Feed it as at step 4 above to re-awaken it. Otherwise, if you’re not putting your starter in the fridge, feed daily by repeating steps 3 and 4 above.
If you notice a clear liquid forming on the top of your starter, don’t worry! This is hooch; your starter is hungry. Pour off the hooch and feed double the amount as stated above for a day or two.
If your starter doesn’t work the first time or worse, gets mouldy, don’t worry. Just wash everything out and start again. It doesn’t always work the first time so don’t be disheartened!
Once you’ve created your starter, it’s time to try it out. Check out my recipe for sourdough bread.